Whole Wheat Honey Bread is a hearty, healthy bread, that has a slightly sweet flavor from the honey. We love toasting thick slices and adding butter and jam. So tasty!
I’ve recently reduced the size of the original recipe for this bread, because my mother made huge batches to feed a family of eight. She also loved to give it away to neighbors and friends (and I do too). However, I think the average baker would prefer a smaller batch of bread, so this recipe now makes two regular sized loaves of bread.
This whole wheat honey bread is so many things.
- healthy, and full of whole wheat bread as well as flaxseed,
- slightly sweetened from just the right amount of honey,
- perfect for toasting or for sandwiches,
- freezes very well for a rainy day.
Ingredients needed for Whole Wheat Honey Bread
- Yeast – I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast. (This is a very large amount. I keep a bunch in the freezer, and it lasts a long time.) We have perfect bread-making weather here in Texas, and my bread always rises pretty quickly. You may need a Quick Rise Yeast, depending on where you live.
- Sugar – Just a little bit of sugar is needed to help activate the yeast.
- Water – You will need warm water for the first step to activate the yeast. Then you will add some cold water in a later step.
- Honey – This gives this bread an amazing semi-sweet flavor, to balance the whole wheat.
- Canola Oil – The perfect fat for this bread.
- Salt – I like kosher salt, but you can use regular salt as well.
- Flax Seed – This is an optional ingredient, but adds some extra healthy to this bread.
- Flours – For best results, use 2.5 cups of whole wheat flour, and then just under two cups of all-purpose.
How to make Whole Wheat Honey Bread:
- Activate the yeast. Using a large standing mixer, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Take a spatula, and stir it around a couple of times. Then let it sit for about 15 minutes so that the yeast activates. You should see a bubbly mixture when it’s ready. See above.
- Add other liquid ingredients, and salt. Add honey, oil, salt, and cold water. Stir again to mix well.
- Place dough hook on mixer, and start adding dry ingredients. Add the flax seed and the whole wheat flour. Using dough hook, turn on mixer, and mix well.
- Add all-purpose flour to desired consistency. Start by adding a cup of flour to the mixer. Let the mixer run, and occasionally scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Gradually add more flour until you get a nice dough consistency. It should be slightly sticky, but easy to handle.
- Let the dough rise. Grease a large bowl with canola or olive oil. Remove the dough from the mixer, and form it into a ball. Then place it in the bowl, and cover it with a clean dishtowel. Place the bowl in a quiet corner of your kitchen and let rise until approximately doubled in size. The rise may be different each time, and will vary depending on where you live.
- Punch the dough down. When the dough doubles, rub a little oil on your hands, and punch bread, starting in the middle, and gently punch sides into the middle of the bowl. This should only take a couple of minutes. No need to over-handle the dough. Lift dough up with your hands, and pour a little more oil into the bowl and spread up the sides. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with towel, and let rise again.
- Form loaves of bread. Once the bread rises twice, it’s time to form the dough into loaves. Prepare bread pans with baking spray. (See below for my favorite pans.) Add a little oil to a pastry mat or a large flat surface (a cutting board works too), and form sections of dough into oblong shapes for bread.
- Let rise again. Cover dough with clean dish towels, and let it rise again, until almost doubled in size.
- Bake. Bake bread in a preheated 350 degree oven, until done, approximately 35 minutes. The bottoms should be slightly browned, and the tops a nice golden brown. Remove bread to a cooling rack.
- Make it shiny. Using a pastry brush, brush softened butter on top of the loaves to get a nice shine.
Regarding the process:
- The first photo above is what the bread looks like when the yeast is ready.
- The second picture above shows when it is ready to pull out of the mixer. Do you see the way it has pulled away from the sides of my Bosch? That means there is enough flour.
- The picture below is what the bread looks like after it has risen. In this case, it took about an hour to rise, but each baking day is different.
Some tips for making epic Whole Wheat Honey Bread.
- When you add the warm water to the yeast, sugar, and salt – be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Also, do not use cool water because it won’t activate the yeast.
- Don’t add all the flour at once because every baking day is different. Some days you will need a bit more flour and some days, you will need less.
- The dough shouldn’t be overly sticky when ready. It should bounce back slightly to the touch. Over time, you will learn exactly how much flour is needed to make the ultimate bread.
- When done, the bottom of the bread should be slightly brown and crunchy, and the top, a nice golden brown.
- Be sure to brush some butter on the top of the loafs of bread to get a nice shine.
Kitchen Tools used for this bread:
- Bosch Universal Mixer – The mixer I use for baking bread.
- USA 1 Pound Bread Pans – The perfect size pans for bread baking.
- Cooling Racks – Use these for all your baking needs.
Make this bread recipe next: Brioche Hamburger Buns
Whole Wheat Honey Bread
- 1 Tablespoon yeast – I use Red Star Active Yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup warm water – not hot, not cold
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal – optional
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour – or to right consistency
- few pats of butter – to brush on top after baking
- Prepare the yeast mixture. Combine the yeast, sugar, and the warm water in a large mixer. Be careful to use WARM water, not hot. If the water is too hot, the yeast will disappear and you can’t make bread without yeast. Mix and let sit for about 15 minutes to get the yeast working.
- Add the honey, oil, salt, and cold water. Stir with a spatula. Attach dough hook to mixer and add the flaxseed meal and the whole wheat flour. Start the mixer and mix until fully combined.
- Then add one cup of all-purpose flour, and gradually add more (between 1.5 – 2 cups) to desired consistency. You want the bread dough to be slightly sticky but not too much. When you touch the dough, it should bounce back slightly. Be sure to leave the mixer on for several minutes after you get the right consistency.
- Grease a medium-sized bowl with canola oil. Add dough to the bowl, making sure you smooth it into a ball. Cover the dough with a clean dish towel and set it in a warm corner of your kitchen. Let the dough rise until doubled in size.
- Punch down the dough – by pushing down with your fists in the middle of the dough, pulling the outer edges in towards the middle. Re-grease the bowl with oil and place the dough with smooth side up. Let rise until doubled in size again.
- Form dough into two large loaves. Use same punch down method for each loaf, making sure smooth side is facing up. Let loaves rise again until doubled in size.
- Bake loaves on 350 degrees for approximately 35 minutes or until bottom is browned nicely. Remove from pans to wire racks and brush tops with butter.
- Cool completely before storing in storage/freezer bags. This bread freezes well.